A Tale of Two Bloggers: Free Speech and Privacy in the Blogosphere
Daniel J. Solove
George Washington University Law School
Washington University Law Review, Vol. 84, p. 1195, 2006
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 207
Berkman Center for Internet & Society - Bloggership: How Blogs are Transforming Legal Scholarship Conference
This short essay was written for the symposium, Bloggership: How Blogs are Transforming Legal Scholarship, held at Harvard Law School on April 27-28, 2006. In this essay, Professor Solove examines Glenn Reynold's new book, An Army of Davids, which champions little guy bloggers (the Davids) who are taking on mainstream media entities (the Goliaths).
Who exactly is David? We have a rather romantic conception of bloggers; we envision Eugene Volokh, but most bloggers are probably more akin to Jessica Cutler, the U.S. Senate staffer who blogged about sex gossip. The average blogger is a teenager writing an online diary, not a scholar or amateur journalist.
We see blogging as something that enhances freedom, expression, and self-development. But when blogging places gossip online, gossip transforms from being localized and forgettable to being permanent and widespread. We might find it harder to engage in self-exploration if every false step and foolish act is chronicled forever in a permanent record. Ironically, the unconstrained flow of information on the Internet might impede our self-development and freedom. Solove argues that the law should hold bloggers to a reasonable standard of care to avoid revealing private information about others.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Keywords: blog, blogger, bloggership, gossip, privacy, free speech, defamation
JEL Classification: K10, K13, K19
Date posted: May 8, 2006 ; Last revised: December 5, 2012